Best Online Master's in Adult Education Degrees

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Master's programs in adult education are available fully online or in a hybrid format. These programs may cover topics including theoretical application in authentic educational settings, instructional methodology, and program development. Although courses can be taken online, many programs require supervised classroom experience. In addition to completing the master's degree program, students may need to independently fulfill their state's specific licensing mandates. Some programs actually require prospective students to have state licensure before they enroll, while other's only require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, possibly in education.

Master of Arts in Education - Adult Education

Students in graduate adult education programs, such as the Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in adult education, can learn how to effectively instruct and work with adult learners. Applicants to these programs will need at least a bachelor's degree, which can be in education or another academic field. Some online programs in adult education do not prepare graduates for the exams required to become a licensed teacher.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs usually last two years and may offer a thesis option. Generally, coursework and graduation requirements can be completed entirely online. Course content is accessed through an online virtual classroom that may provide instruction through text or video. Students may also need a specific Web browser used to access their virtual classrooms, and schools strongly suggest students have a high-speed Internet connection.

List of Common Adult Education Master's Courses

The coursework in these programs primarily focuses on topics related to education and working with adult learners. Students may pursue a concentration or focus their studies through core and elective courses similar to the following.

Teaching Adult Learners

This type of class teaches different methods and practices for effectively educating adult students. Subject matter may include principles of evaluating instructional strategies and the types of student assessment, as well as how to establish an environment or setting conducive to learning.

Technology in the Classroom

This type of class teaches students how to effectively integrate the use of computers into curriculum for adult learners. Content may look at how to use multimedia presentations to enhance instruction and how to use the Internet or desktop publishing software for student projects.

Culture and Diversity

This type of class looks at how students' cultural or social background influences their learning. Course content may also cover issues of racial or sexual discrimination in the classroom setting.

Career Information for Graduates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places adult educators in the category of 'Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors' ( The BLS estimated that workers in this career field earned an average of $58,110 in 2018 and would see a 10% decline in employment between 2018 and 2028. They also found that other information services, elementary and secondary schools, and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals were among the top-paying industries that employ adult educators.

Continuing Education Information

In many states, prospective educators will need a license to work for adult education programs that are run by the government. In some states, this will mean passing a specific adult education licensure exam, while others require an exam for general public school teaching licensure.

Individuals who want to pursue teaching careers focused on adult education may pursue an online master's degree in the subject. Virtual classroom instruction is generally provided through readings and video content, and students may have the chance to write a thesis, so students get the same advanced education as they would in an on-campus graduate program.

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